When the Dallas Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions this Sunday, on all eyes will be on each team’s absurdly gifted wide receiver, Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson. These are two of the best in the NFL at their position, and the game could very well come down to which one makes more plays.
While being interviewed on Dallas area radio show yesterday morning, Bryant refused to say Johnson is the better player, saying, “I believe I can do whatever he can do.” Of course, what else would he say, as self-confidence is a hugely important part of being a professional athlete. In fact, the two are having similar seasons, as Bryant has 42 catches for 569 yards and 6 TDs in 7 games while Johnson has 33 receptions for 492 yards and 6 TDs in 6 games.
In my opinion, Bryant is a top 5 receiver in the NFL who is only going to get better. However, Johnson remains the gold standard at the position, and Bryant has some work to do to catch up to him. What separates Johnson from other receivers blessed with incredible size and speed (like Bryant) is his ability to beat every conceivable defense. Sunday was a prime example, as Johnson was triple covered on a desperation heave from Matthew Stafford and still came down with ball for a touchdown.
Megatron is the focal point of every defense the Lions face, and yet he still has monster games with incredible consistency. There is no game plan to stop Calvin Johnson, as defensive coordinators have tried and failed with every scheme. This is not to say that Bryant is easy to stop, but defenses have had much more luck slowing Bryant over the past two seasons than they’ve had with Johnson.
Dez Bryant is an incredibly talented receiver who is finally learning what it means to be a professional football player. He is among the elite players at the position, and the sky is the limit for his career. However, he still has some work to do before he can be considered Johnson’s equal, as does every other receiver in the NFL. Of course, Bryant believes he is already there, and Sunday will be his chance to prove it.